Q: Can our ministry be responsible for injury or expense related to bedbugs, bats or other pests if they’re found at our facility? How do we deal with this situation?

If a guest comes into contact with a pest at your facility and their interaction with the pest results in injury, disease or financial damage, your ministry could potentially be liable for the injury or expense that’s incurred.

To keep guests safe, to minimize the chance of spreading the infestation and to reduce the ministry’s potential liability, your facility manager, custodial staff, child care workers, and others should familiarize themselves with signs of a pest infestation. Be on the lookout for signs of bedbugs and disease-carrying pests as well, such as bats, rodents, and raccoons.

Ministries should train employees and volunteers to recognize signs of pest-related infestation and report them immediately to ministry leaders.

Contacting affected guests

If a pest infestation is discovered at your facility, and if the pest is one that can either transmit disease or can inadvertently be taken home with guests, it’s best to contact the family of guests who may have been affected by the infestation. If the infestation involved potentially disease-carrying pests, have parents confirm that their child did not come into contact with the pest. Prompt notification allows those who have been exposed to seek medical attention immediately, if needed. Do so may help them and others ward off serious medical issues. Provide decontamination information to all guests who may have been affected.

Keeping Pests Away

Regularly inspect all areas of your property, including bedding and sleeping areas, for telltale signs of parasites, and attics, crawl spaces, and storage areas for signs of animal infestation. Ministries should train employees and volunteers to recognize signs of pest-related infestation and report them immediately to ministry leaders.

Liability and Insurance

Pest infestations can result in lawsuits. While working to prevent an infestation from occurring is the best policy, insurance can provide an extra layer of protection. Brotherhood Mutual offers a series of coverages, including Infestation Liability Coverage, designed to protect ministries against infestation liability claims.

More Information

For more about infestation issues, please refer to an expanded article, Ministries Can Be Held Responsible for Injuries and Expenses Related to Pest Infestation. The article provides added information about how you can prevent potential pest infestation and deal with the consequences should one occur at your ministry’s facilities.

*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.

The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.